Apalachee - Pot Leaf Shoals


Apalachee, Georgia, US

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Pot Leaf Shoals (Apalachee park and play spot)

Usual Difficulty II-III (for normal flows)
Length 0.1 Miles

Backblast in Pot Leaf Shoals Playhole


Backblast in Pot Leaf Shoals Playhole
Photo of Will Van De Berg by Lelania Van De Berg @ 250 cfs

Gauge Information

Name Range Difficulty Updated Level
APALACHEE RIVER NEAR BOSTWICK, GA
usgs-02219000 175 - 6000 cfs II-III 00h28m 465 cfs (running)


River Description

Note: some of the directions below are outdated, as the access points are no longer accessible. Per a 2009 comment:

2009-01-02:  Went looking for access today and found that most all roads leading anywhere near the playspot are gated and locked. Might be accessable from bridge on 441 but otherwise no other roads open to public.

Another comment:
2009-07-13: Went this past weekend. Put in at Price Mill Road and paddled to 441 bridge. Bit of a long drag down a big hill at Price Mill, but wasnt bad. Water flowed well first 2-3 miles but then slowed down considerably. Flowing about 61 cfs I believe. Had to pick up and drag about 5 times. Took out at 441. Washouts on access were kinda rough, but a 2wd truck made it down. Would not want to attempt this aftter a rain though. We did not paddle down any farther than 441, but in my canoe guide it talks about a take out 1 mile past 441. Local sources tell me that there is a road that leads to the river there (Old Madison Hwy??), but a timber company has gated the road about 1/4 mile from river. To my knowledge the road is still public and it will be a long drag, but free to use. I dont know how they got approval to gate a public road?
Kevin: I don't think they got approval; they just did it and it hasn't been challenged yet. Pot Leaf shoals was a classic park and play spot.

Even these access points may no longer be available. Bonnie Semora informed us on 1/18/11: I have paddled this stretch before, putting in at Hwy 441/129/24 and taking out below the stretch of rapids near the park and play spot described here. Unfortunately, it appears that is no longer possible.  The access at the putin on Hwy 441 is fenced and gated.  The road down to the park and play spot, Old Madison Hwy, is fenced, gated, and bulldozed.  In the past, there was a lot of 4-wheeling going on at this location, and now a berm of dirt and rock is piled up to prevent access except through the gate, which is locked.  It's a beautiful, fun stretch, but access is nearly impossible now.

The gauge you are looking for is the Apalachee near Bostwick gauge and between 200-400 cfs for optimal play. Can definitely play it at both lower (absolute minimum is around 100 cfs) and higher levels, I have played there at around 3000 cfs and beyond, but it gets way more intense and is a huge, kind of flood stage feeling to it. The line to the right of the island opens up then and it has a GNARLY hole on river right that will keep you in it for a long while (I found this out myself one day) as well as some entrapment potential on the river left of it-- stay center for best results.
At high flows, the wave mid rapid goes from being a small wave to a nice hole to, at really high flows, a great 6-7' surf wave. At higher flows, the blasting hole gets pretty unfun as the current shoves you into the rock on river left, making it more difficult to play in and at really high flows, this feature completely disappears.

At between 200-400 cfs, the park and play spot is a blast, with surfing waves, a great blasting hole, a deep eddy line for flatwater moves, several splat spots, and other features that make it worthwhile to hit when in Athens. Not a destination boating location, but a great training spot for Athens area boaters.

Directions to the Appalachee River put-in:

South from Athens on Hwy 441/129/24 towards Bishop, Farmington and Madison, GA. Go through Bishop and then Farmington and once you finally see the Oconee Heritage Park on your right hand side (a big shelter-type structure sitting a ways off of the road); you will know that you are getting close.

Pass OH Park and then go about another mile or so 'til you see a fruit stand on the left hand side of the road. Once you pass it, there will be a dirt road headed left off of 441. Turn left on this road.
Follow this road for about 500 yards 'til you see a road headed off right (with a tire-stop sign holding thing in the intersection). Take the road going right (the good road, not the 4WD road on the far right) and follow it for about one mile till you pass all of the houses and trailers and are now in the middle of the woods.

You will by this time be going up a hill surrounded by woods on both sides. When you get to the top of this hill and just before you begin to be headed down the other side of it, you will see another dirt road headed up and right--take it. Follow this road around as it bears right and downhill. Go downhill until you see the road split left or right; follow the left line and then you will end up in a cleared area at the top of an old railroad bridge.

Park on the side of the road and head downhill, following the trail/rutted out road on the left side of the trestles. Put in there and paddle down about 200' and then head left around a small island following the main flow of the water. The rapids will then come up and just enjoy. There are play spots all down the drops that can be re-run, etc.

Also, anyone in the Athens area that wants to be put on the UGA WHITEWATER CLUB LISTSERV so that they can network with other UGA/Athens boaters, drop an email and I will add you to the list. willvdb@uga.edu.


StreamTeam Status: Not Verified
Last Updated: 2015-02-17 17:41:39

Editors


Rapid Summary

Mile Rapid Name Class Features (Legend)
0.0Pot Leaf Shoals surfing wavePlayspot Photo
0.0Apalachee surf WavePlayspot Photo
0.0Apalachee blasting holeII+Playspot Photo

Rapid Descriptions

Pot Leaf Shoals surfing wave

Surfing upper wave

Surfing upper wave
Photo of Will Van De berg by Lelania Van De Berg @ 250 cfs

Fun little wave at low water but develops into fun but shallow play hole around 400 cfs. Above 1000 cfs, it turns back into a BIG trianglular steep wave that offers great surfing. However, at that level it has a pretty meaty hole that develops closely behind it on river left.

Apalachee surf Wave

Surfing upper wave

Surfing upper wave
Photo of Devon Pearse by Lelania Van De Berg @ 250 cfs


Apalachee blasting hole (Class II+, Mile 0.0)

Blasting bottom hole at Pot Leaf Shoals

Blasting bottom hole at Pot Leaf Shoals
Photo of Will Van De Berg by Lelania Van De Berg @ 250 cfs

Fun hole for blasts, blastwheels, etc but too shallow to throw ends in. Does have a rock on river left that your boat will hit when throwing blast wheels, but still plenty of fun from 175-400 cfs or so. Above 400 cfs, the hole gets pretty rough and all of the current throws you into the rock mentioned above pretty hard, making it real hard to do much blasting, etc. Great eddyline seam above and below the hole for squirts, flatwater wheels, etc.


User Comments

Users can submit comments.
July 5 2013 (1986 days ago)
Ramblinche81 (155476)
I paddled this in a canoe with a friend some 30 years ago so I can't speak to the Hwy441 access as
of 2013. What I can tell you is despite the terrain map look or the appearance of water on
satellite, you CANNOT paddle from 441 to Lake Oconee. About 4-5 miles below shoals, water becomes
swampy and it is that way for a couple miles...map shows a Timber Bridge Rd (dirt) and that is last
thing that resembles a road for access. Go past the old iron bridge frame (visible in satellite
image) and you are likely to be walking in a swamp with three feet of mud rather than paddling..
July 14 2011 (2708 days ago)
WWSwimmer (153320)
I just went out to the shoals last weekend. The gate is still up on Old Madison Hwy, but I didn't
see any no trespassing signs for the road there. It is clear the logging companies don't want you
to trespass in the forests, but I think that is more to keep hunters out. The bridge access at 441
is still accessible from any side. The Madison county side has a concrete pad with a dirt road that
leads under the bridge. I made it down with a 2wd truck, and there was a sedan already down there
that made it out with no trouble. It looks like the best bet is to put in at the bridge and take
out at the beach area below the shoals. You can park a car on Old Madison above the gate. Just be
ready for a 1/4-1/2 mile hike uphill on a gravel road. I will post some pictures of the shoals. The
water was low when I went, but it looks like it could be fun.
May 4 2011 (2780 days ago)
x (1)
The forum is a brighter place thanks to your posts. Thakns!
July 13 2009 (3440 days ago)
x (1)
Went this past weekend. Put in at Price Mill Road and paddled to 441 bridge. Bit of a long drag
down a big hill at Price Mill, but wasnt bad. Water flowed well first 2-3 miles but then slowed
down considerably. Flowing about 61 cfs I believe. Had to pick up and drag about 5 times. Took out
at 441. Washouts on access were kinda rough, but a 2wd truck made it down. Would not want to
attempt this aftter a rain though. We did not paddle down any farther than 441, but in my canoe
guide it talks about a take out 1 mile past 441. Local sources tell me that there is a road that
leads to the river there (Old Madison Hwy??), but a timber company has gated the road about 1/4
mile from river. To my knowledge the road is still public and it will be a long drag, but free to
use. I dont know how they got approval to gate a public road? Kevin: I don't think they got
approval; they just did it and it hasn't been challenged yet. Pot Leaf shoals was a classic park
and play spot.
January 2 2009 (3632 days ago)
x (1)
Went looking for access today and found that most all roads leading anywhere near the playspot are
gated and locked. Might be accessable from bridge on 441 but otherwise no other roads open to
public.
December 8 2004 (5117 days ago)
Jason RobertsonDetails
AW received a report today 12/8/04 that the access to this section has been closed.

"I found on your web site a cool play spot on the Appalachee River that is close enough to get
in my boat and get wet without driving far. Well, I went there today and a person has bought all
the land from the bridge on 441/129 all the way down and has posted several gates with the Classic
"NO Trespassing" signs. I talked with locals and he does not live there, but to be safe
in the backwoods of Georgia I would rather not take my chance with the law. I thought I would try
further upstream, but there would be no way to hike my boat out without stepping on this guys
property due to the fact that he bought both sides of the river."

If you have more information, please notify AW at kevin@amwhitewater.org.


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